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Greek unions call strike to beat new austerity deal

Panos Garganas, Athens

July 14, 2015

Workers had an immediate response to the Greek government’s surrender to its creditors—meeting within hours to call a public sector mass strike.

They were set to strike on Wednesday of this week. That’s when parliament begins voting through the laws demanded by the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. Workers plan a mass rally in front of the Greek parliament in Syntagma Square. A meeting of around 200 public sector workers on Monday of this week, called by the Adedy union federation, decided on the strike. The rank and file was there as well as the leaders—and in a militant mood.

This isn’t just a U-turn from the government. People voted no to an austerity agreement in the referendum—and the government agreed another that was even worse. Working class families face an immediate loss of income from wages and pensions, and the threat of job losses. And workers who were rehired or promised their jobs back after being made redundant by the previous government face being sacked again.

They include the workers at ERT, the state broadcaster, who were reinstated last month after two years under workers’ control. Their union was the first to call for the general strike, at a meeting of the Coordination Against Redundancies campaign on Friday of last week.  They are not part of Adedy, but they will join the rally on the day. The Athens Metro workers’ union voted to join the strike. Other unions are under pressure to come out alongside what is set to be over 600,000 public and private sector workers.

The ports are already being privatised, and the agreement says the state electricity company is to be chopped up and sold off too. Workers there want to fight and were making their decision as Socialist Worker went to press. Socialists in the unions are calling for another 48-hour strike next week, when a second round of legislation is due to be passed.

Strikes have stopped cuts and closures in a number of places. They brought the previous government down, bringing the left to office. Striking now can protect jobs and wages—and go beyond the compromising left that’s in government to build a stronger, anti-capitalist left.

People are angry, but there’s a question of who will give a lead. At first there was panic. Now the strikes and demonstrations are making opposition concrete. They are the way to make sure the No vote will be vindicated and the deal will not pass.

This is shared from Socialist Worker (UK)

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